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How to get more online reviews

Online reviews are very important. Customers check out reviews to see if other people have had a great experience or regret ever buying from you. They can be even more powerful than testimonials and can even help your business do better than your competitors in Google searches.

But getting customer reviews on a platform like Google Reviews is easier said than done. Many business owners are too afraid to ask in case it opens the doors to a tirade of complaints. It can also feel awkward to ask. Someone’s just paid you for a service or product and now you’re pushing your luck asking them to also give feedback or leave a review. What if you annoy people and they don’t buy again as a result?

In many cases these fears are unfounded. Customers appreciate the chance to give you feedback, especially if you exceeded expectations. And if they didn’t have a great time they might not have wanted to cause a scene by complaining but will tell you in private via a feedback form.

Online reviews and customer feedback, in general, are essential for growing your business. One can directly influence your future customers while they’re searching for a solution, while the other enables you to address internal issues and refine your offering to grow. Both are important for any business to reach the next level. But how do you get more of either?

In simple terms, you can get more reviews by:

  • Incentivising feedback
  • Enabling easy feedback methods
  • Creating accounts on review platforms
  • Developing processes around asking
  • Setting KPIs and goals

While these are great in concept how would you actually go about implementing them in your business? In the next section, we break down each into actionable steps you can undertake almost immediately to get more online reviews.

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Incentivise feedback

We would never recommend creating incentives for positive reviews and would actively discourage any business from doing so. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t give people a little nudge towards giving you feedback whether it’s good or bad.

Make sure the incentive can be enjoyed by someone who enjoyed your service and also by someone who didn’t. There’s little point giving someone who had a terrible time a discount off their next purchase with you. All that will achieve is reducing the amount of negative feedback you receive, which won’t enable you to grow your business.

Consider entering people into a draw for a prize or rewarding feedback with something like a Prezzy card, Amazon Gift Card or iTunes voucher as a reason to submit feedback. It’s important that in any competition that entrants have an equal chance of winning the prize, no matter whether the feedback is good or bad!

Easy feedback methods

It’s important that you give people many different methods for leaving feedback. While comment slips might remind people of simpler times not everyone wants to handwrite a note, and you might benefit from a method where even the worst handwriting can be legible. Using a structured feedback survey enables you to ask the questions that matter most to your business. From the quality of service to price and range, a survey means all the key questions are asked rather than relying on the individual to magically know where your business is looking to improve.

Having the same survey accessible across multiple platforms and locations means that different types of customers can find the channel that best suits them. From QR codes on the packaging or at the till, to links sent out via email or on invoices, you’re targeting people at different stages of the purchase process, and on different devices and locations.

Most people have mobile devices making online feedback gathering easy but make sure the survey is friendly on small devices if you anticipate this being the preferred method. Emails and e-receipts lend themselves to digital surveys as well while countertop QR codes make it easy for people to use mobile phones to leave feedback immediately. You can also use an iPad or tablet at the checkout so customers can quickly leave their feedback, this can be useful for the less tech-savvy or for people in a rush.

Creating accounts on review platforms

Many review platforms allow businesses to create accounts for free but before you rush off and create a dozen accounts consider the following. For each account you set up that’s another platform you’ll need to monitor and manage.

If you’re just starting out select one or two larger, well-known accounts and start from there. It’s free to set up a Google My Business account and because these reviews are shown on Google searches this can be an easy way to get results quickly. Facebook also allows people to leave recommendations while Tripadvisor is particularly useful if you receive lots of overseas bookings.

It’s excellent review management to respond to the feedback you receive on these public sites. While it’s never easy responding to negative reviews it’s better to reply to both kinds than to leave them without a response.

Developing processes around asking

If you don’t ask then you certainly won’t get. Sometimes one of the simplest methods for increasing the number of reviews your business receives is to ask for it in the first place. It can be as simple as training staff to point out feedback opportunities in your business or creating an email template which they can send to customers.

It’s not only customer service team members that are prime candidates for feedback champions. Anyone in the business should be asking for feedback. But rather than waiting for a superstar employee to become the driving force for it business leaders should identify opportunities for feedback to be gathered and encourage their use.

Automating this process can help massively. Using marketing platforms like HubSpot or Mailchimp enables feedback gathering to become part of the sales and service process. It can be an automated email that goes out to everyone that purchased that week or a link could be included in automated invoicing or delivery information.

Setting KPIs and goals

Businesses tend to focus on that which they’re measuring and while key matrics often include sales, calls or service scores it’s rare for feedback requests to also feature. You can even incentivise team members to ask for feedback. Similar to incentivising responses you could award a gift card to the employee who received the highest number of feedback responses. This works better than rewarding the person with the highest score because a savvy employee will simply get one 5 star response to win and the person with twenty reviews, averaging 4.3 stars is not rewarded despite their best efforts.

If you’re struggling to set a goal for reviews and feedback you can look at how many online reviews your competitors have and aim to beat them. If that doesn’t seem achievable then why not set your sights on doubling the amount you already have.

Gathering more customer feedback is important to learning where gaps in your service exit and how you can attract more customers. Using happy customers to promote your business and attract more customers enables you to grow at very little cost. Even when budgets are tight feedback can become a silent salesperson.

If you don’t know where to begin, or want to ask customers for feedback but don’t want unhappy responses to be made public then Review Tui can help. We give you a low-cost feedback platform, where you control the questions, so you can measure the happiness of your customers. If someone loved being your customer then they’re encouraged to share a public review to help you attract more customers.

You can capture negative feedback quickly and choose to handle it before it goes public, giving you more control over the relationship.

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